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The Scoop on the Poop

Posted by terrepruitt on June 5, 2010

I have a friend and it seems that one out of every three conversations we have we end up talking about cat poop.  Now, for some that might seem odd, but let me point out, if you are a parent, there has been a time when you have talked about your baby’s diaper contents.  I remember one conversation where I was subjected to size, shape, guestimated weight, and yes, above all color.  So, parents talk about their baby’s waste.  Since cats have odd behavior even when they are healthy and “normal” one of the primary ways to detect and keep track of the health of a cat is by their waste.

Things change for cats when there is an adjustment to their diet or whatever and my friend is in the middle of a food transition for her cats.  It just follows that if you talk about what goes in, you end up on what comes out.

Now, I apologize if this is just too gross of a subject for you.  This might not be “appropriate for a health and wellness blog” and it might not a pleasant topic, but the more I looked for information regarding it the more I realized that people at least need to know what the possibilities might be so that they can decide for themselves, so hence, I am posting about cat poop.

I knew that pregnant women should not be in charge of changing a litter box.  The threat comes from handling the cats waste, but . . . just to be safe most women just avoid the process all together.  For most women it is roughly just a nine month vacation from having litter box duty.  But I bet, even though you have a new baby yet to be born to think about you probably are having conversations with the fill in litter-box-changer in regards to the cat habits.  Making sure everything is normal (again . . . that is how we gauge the health of the cats.)  Honestly it is not an examination, but somewhat of an unconscious review as we are scooping and cleaning.

Anyway, what I didn’t know is that you should NOT be flushing your cats poop.  Even without the litter.  So all of the stuff that says you can . . .INCLUDING the EPA information . . . you might want to think twice.  Research is proving that the eggs from the Toxoplasma gondii that causes Toxoplasmosis might survive up to a year even after having gone through water treatment.   This is the disease that can be fatal to infants and why pregnant women shouldn’t deal with the cat’s little box.

The eggs don’t die upon treatment and they get sent out to see where our sea life eats it.  And while I don’t see that this has a direct affect on us as humans the fact that our otter population has gone from 15,000 to 2,500 and a large percentage of dead otters have been found with the parasite in them, just gives you another thing to think about.  Since in the grand view of things it all affects us.

Not ALL cats even have this parasite. I was just surprised by the idea that flushing cats’ waste is not good since I had always thought that flush it was fine it was the LITTER that was the concern, but apparently not.  As with a lot of things it could have just changed since the population of humans has grown so has to populations of house cat.  Flushing is an easy way to dispose so more people might do it than have done it in the past and with all of the products that are out there that say it is fine, it is just interesting to know that it might be affecting our sea life.  Of course putting it in a plastic bag and putting it in the garbage that goes to a landfill is not necessarily the best way to deal with it either, but it is the alternative that was have at the moment.  Now at least you can have a little bit more information and make a choice.

So, since this is my blog, I like to share things I learn.  The things I learn might not always DIRECTLY relate to health and fitness, but I have said, “In the realm of health, wellness, fitness, and the like, or whatever inspires me.”  I guess you could say I was inspired.

4 Responses to “The Scoop on the Poop”

  1. Hi Terre!

    A little late in responding to this blog!!!

    As you might be aware, I have 5 cats. They are all “inside/outside” cats. That’s a term familiar between feline lovers. So they can potentially pick up all sorts of nasty little parasites, especially since we live out in a more rural setting where the flora and fauna are abundantly present in a variety of forms and species (i.e., feces species). 🙂

    I rarely take my cats to the vet anymore (obviously vaccinations are important). I treat the parasites, fleas, ticks (I’ve never found a tick in this part of Wisconsin…knocking on wood as I’m typing that) with Food grade Diatomaceous Earth. It’s a natural parasite killer. I also sprinkle it in my doorways and windowsills to keep out little crawly pests. I take it myself, too. It mixes quite nicely into cat food (for my cats, not for me) and into yogurt (for me!).

    Now to the subject of your blog: cat poop. It is interesting how feline owners somehow get around to discussing their furry friends’ feces. Remarkable how often “scoopin’ the poop” comes up. I would NEVER flush our cat poop down the toilet. We scoop into bags (and with 5 cats you can well imagine how much poop AND pee clumps there are) and dispose of in our normal trash. Thankfully it’s summer and 4 of our 5 feline children use the toilet outside. They find the most unusual places…but I won’t go into that.

    I remember many years ago (lordy, it’s been 21 years) when I still lived in Kansas City, Missouri and owned my own home in an older neighborhood…my 84 year old neighbor lady came to my door one morning and asked me ever so politely if I could keep my cat from pooping in her garden boxes. Sure enough, my sweet Randy and Timmy would wander over to her porch, dig up her petunias and poop in her garden box. How embarrassing is that??? And how does one train a cat not to do that? Egads.

    And so it goes. Love the blog Terre. You always make me smile girlfriend.



    • Thank you for commenting. I really struggled with even posting this. I wrote it and then didn’t post it because I was hoping to have time to write something else, but time got away from me and I didn’t have a chance to write something else so I ended up posting this. But . . . I also felt it was important because I don’t think people know that there is a possible danger when flushing cat feces. When I was looking on the internet there was a lot of people that didn’t know. It is just one of those things that people can be aware of and then do what they think is correct.

      As one site I read said that the alternative for disposal was really not much better, but it was all that we had at the moment.

      Egads is right. I don’t know how to train a cat to use a specific spot. Can you? I mean they are so very good about using a litter box, could you train them to use a corner of the yard as you do a dog? Ha. I have never thought of that.

      I think it would be so nice to live in an area as you do where you could let the cats roam. I think that here it is too dangerous. We are too densely populated. So the cars and other critters that have nowhere else to go make it too dangerous (and I don’t even like to think about the cruel people).

      Thank you so much for sharing!


  2. suzicate said

    I don’t have a cat anymore, but I did not handle the litter box while pregant. However, I did not know about the flushing.


    • I didn’t know that flushing was not good either. I didn’t know that our water treatment can’t treat a cat’s waste that has this parasite. Not all do so maybe that is why it is not a big concern. I don’t know. I was just fascinated by the information so I thought I would share.

      Thank you for commenting!


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